Movie review: Looper
One genre that really appears to be struggling at the moment is sci-fi. It's kind of ironic that the best futuristic films ever made are all in the past. You know, Blade Runner, the first Star Wars trilogy, the first two Alien films, titles like that.
This year alone saw the release of the deeply flawed Prometheus, the lame Total Recall re-make and the frightening expensive and nothing more than average John Carter. Yet another year then of adequate sci-fi releases.
Initially, hopes were high for Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with it's intriguing time-travelling premise, but like so many sci-fi films recently, it's let down by poor execution.
It's the future, 2042 to be precise, and Joseph Simmons (Gordon-Levitt) is a young man with an unusual job. He is a looper; an assassin hired to kill targets sent from even further in the future, 2072, where time travel exists. His Shanghai bosses in the future send back troublesome employees for these loopers to conveniently dispose of.
Joe is faced with a dilemma when his next target is an all too familiar face – his older self (Willis). Whilst getting his head around the repercussions, his hesitation gives his older self the opportunity to leg it. Joe then finds himself in the curious position of having to hunt himself down, before his employers catch up with him for not completing his contract.
The most frustrating thing about Looper is that' there's clearly a great film wanting to emerge from the convoluted tangle it gets itself into.
<i>Looper</i> may be slightly easier to follow, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's any easier to fathom. The premise of a man having to chase his future self would have been more than enough to cope with, but writer and director Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom) makes further additions, by way of Emily Blunt's character Sara and her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon).
This adds unnecessary complications to a plot that could already have audiences struggling to get their heads around it. Maybe Johnson manages to maintain the believability of the science, but he grapples unconvincingly with the fiction.
In that sense it has a lot in common with The Matrix trilogy in that it gets so wrapped up in the mechanics of the science fiction, but at the expense of a coherent story.
Perhaps if he just concentrated on the dynamic of Gordon-Levitt having to chase down his older Bruce Willis self, there's a chance the film could have become a modern sci-fi classic.
On top of that, there's still the notion of not only Gordon-Levitt being a leading man, but also one required for an action, sci-fi flick at that. He's just a little too wet lettuce to be truly convincing.
Sadly then, Looper has to be added to the pile of sci-fi films that headed, promisingly enough in the right direction, but ultimately delivered a disappointing future.
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